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TVNZ Chief Praises Pacific Media Coverage

TVNZ Chief Praises Network's Pacific Media Coverage Team

By Jonathan Dow

Jonathan Dow is a student reporter from Te Waha Nui (AUT) covering the conference Website at: http://artsweb.aut.ac.nz/Journalism/pima2004/

Television New Zealand chief executive Ian Fraser today defended his network's approach to Pacific media coverage and culture but acknowledged that much more needed to be done.

He praised the impact of TVNZ's Pacific News Bureau, saying that the nightly 6 o'clock news bulletin now carried stories on the Pacific that were "not just about disfunctionality".

"The stories are not just about flood, tidal wave and crime," Fraser said.

He also praised the long-running Tagata Pasifika programme.

Fraser was addressing a broadcasting capacity workshop at the start of the Pacific Islands Media Association (PIMA) conference at the Auckland University of Technology.

Fraser said the lack of capacity was not specific to the Pacific - the whole broadcast industry had a problem.

He said TVNZ would be closing its satellite service and "as of December, there won't be a platform" for broadcasts from New Zealand to reach the Pacific.

Opening the conference with the theme "Neo-colonialism of the Pacific media in Aotearoa", PIMA deputy chair Lito Vilisoni said there were no programmes in place to build the capacity of the Pacific Island media in New Zealand.

Chaired by Sireli Kini, former chairperson of the Fiji-based Pacific Islands Broadcasting Association (PIBA), the capacity-building workshop featured a number of key people from the broadcast industry in New Zealand.

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Mark Jennings, director of news and current affairs at TV3, said the reality was that broadcasting was not free of commercial pressure, and in TV3's case, it never would be.

Neil Cairns, from NZ on Air, said "the idea always wins" when it came to deciding what his agency funded.

"An idea that is true to its culture will always find its way," Cairns said, and he cited the success of the new Pacific comedy series Bro' Town on TV3 as an example.

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